OK, let’s face it….cookie baking can be a real time consuming endeavor which usually requires our utmost attention (lest they burn) and creates a huge mess to have to clean up afterward. Not to mention when the holidays roll around and you have half a dozen types to bake. I actually think that’s why so many bakers stay away from cookies — just too messy and time consuming.
For those of us who love cookie baking we either spend an entire day in a cloud of flour surrounded by massive amounts of appliances, pans and utensils waiting to be cleaned and the obligatory cookie sheet or 2 of burned morsels waiting to be slid into the garbage…OR you can do what I do — develop a cookie baking system that keeps your kitchen in top notch shape and only delivers perfectly baked cookies. Well…almost always.
My list of cookie baking tips:
1. Use a timer. With most ovens now equipped with one, this is a no-brainer. Since I always bake 2 sheets at a time, I set the timer for half the baking time so I can switch the positions of the pans at the first bell, then set it for the remainder of the baking time. If the cookies are still not done on the second bell always set the timer at 1 minute increments. NEVER say, oh I’ll just stick them in for another minute or so. Believe me…you’ll forget about them and there go 2 sheets of perfectly fine cookies into the trash.
2. Whisk instead of sift. I use a bowl for all dry ingredients then whisk together for a few rounds. I’ve found that this is easier and does just as good a job.
3. Use a measured scoop. If you want beautifully uniform cookies always use a cookie scoop or even measuring cup. Honestly, they come out picture perfect.
4. Prepare in advance. (This one is my favorites and most used)
If it’s a full day of holiday baking you’re getting ready for, then by all means start the day before like I do. I set out all of my recipes, dry ingredients and ziploc bags on my prep island. One at a time, prepare the dry ingredients for each recipe and put them into a ziploc bag you’ve labeled with a marker. Voila, the next day you’ll only be pouring already prepared dry mixes into your wet ingredient mixing bowl… plus there’s a lot less clean up. This has proven to be a lifesaver to me during the hectic holiday season.
4. Freeze Batters. If there’s a cookie recipe you use often, roll the batter into a log, wrap well in plastic wrap and just take out, slice and bake when the need arises.
I hope these tips put you more at ease about cookie baking.
Now let’s get those sheet pans out.